Fourth of July events: Platte City set to honor 175th anniversary

The City of Platte City’s recently acquired salvaged naval anchor will be the centerpiece of a 175th anniversary celebration scheduled for Saturday, July 4.Platte City mayor Frank Offutt invited local elected officials and representatives from numerous branches of the military to the celebration, which will start at 10 a.m. at Settler’s Crossing Park at the end of Main Street in Platte City. Although not ready for official display, the 13-ton anchor from the USS Platte (AO-186) — like all U.S. Navy fleet oilers, named after rivers — provides a visible symbol and point of pride for the mayor in honoring this occasion. ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Chad Welch, operator with Absolute Crane of Platte City, starts to lift a 13-ton anchor off of the USS Platte (AO-186) on the afternoon of Friday, March 20 at Settler’s Park in Platte City. The relic came off a decommissioned Naval ship named for the Platte River. Platte City mayor Frank Offutt secured the item as a donation and intends to use it this summer during a ceremony for the 175th anniversary of the city’s founding. The anchor currently rests in the park, while awaiting a more permanent display setting.

“This event should be a memorable event in observing Platte City’s 175th anniversary,” Offutt said.

Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Carlton Philpot will give the keynote address, while Charles Schley — a chief boatswain mate who served on the USS Platte and is considered “plank owner” as part of the ship’s commissioning crew — will be given the key to the city that will declare Platte City the “Official Home Port” for the USS Platte. The AO-186 Cimarron Class fleet oiler was actually the second ship to bear the name of the Platte River, and Charles Buck and Michael Brown, former sailors from the USS Platte (AO-24), will also be in attendance.

Brown attended a 2008 reunion in Platte City for those who served on AO-24 and will represent the USS Missouri (SSN-780) state commissioning committee in presenting Platte City officials with the city flag flown from the submarine’s sail as a show in honor of the city’s support for men and women serving the United States.

The anchor, which stands 13-feet tall by 12-feet wide, continues to sit on the land at Settler’s Park since its arrival this past May.

The city still plans to create a proper base for display and recently received the finished memorial plaque. The flat bottom of the anchor should aid in the process of displaying the anchor, and the extra chain on the top will be used to help stabilize it.

The cost of the plaque, base and re-setting will be determined later.

The USS Platte (AO-186) was decommissioned in 1999 after 16 years in service. Offutt heard about the ship and sought out a relic that could help celebrate the 175th anniversary of Platte City’s founding. The salvage master at Southern Recycling donated the anchor, but the Platte City Board of Aldermen approved a $3,800 expenditure for hauling ($3,000) and the crane operation (minimum fee of $800) to bring it from Louisiana.

In addition to the formal ceremony, Platte City Parks and Recreation Department will host an event at the Platte City Community Pool from noon to 5 p.m. There will be free admission to the facility along with refreshments.

At 9:45 p.m. that night, there will be patriotic music and a fireworks display at Pirate Stadium. Admission is also free to that event.

In Parkville, Mo., the celebration started with a nightly Fun Time Shows Carnival, set to be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, July 1-3. The annual Parkville July Fourth Celebration parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, running from 63rd Street and Highway 9 and into historic downtown Parkville.

Dr. LuAnn Halverstadt — principal at Graden Elementary in Parkville — will serve as the grand marshal. She has been in the Park Hill School District since 1997 and served in her current role for the past 13 years.

The carnival will start again at 11 a.m. and run through the night. The Falcon Skydiving team will arrive around 8 p.m. to start the evening festivities.

The fireworks display, which will close the boat ramp at English Landing Park on Saturday, July 4 before it reopens on Sunday, July 5, is set to begin at 9:45 p.m. Shuttle service from the Platte County Community Center South, Park University and Park Hill South High School will start at 6 p.m. and be available until midnight.

Weston, Mo. will also host a parade set to begin at 11 a.m. on Main Street. Immediately following, there will be a community picnic, military recognition and children’s activities at the city park.